Cross-modal Effect of Vanilla Aroma on Sweetness of Different Sweeteners among Chinese and Danish Consumers

Anne Sjørup Bertelsen*, Yan Zeng, Line Ahm Mielby, Yuan-Xia Sun, Derek V. Byrne, Ulla Kidmose

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearch


Non-nutritive sweeteners often contain off-flavors, and the use of aroma to increase sweetness intensity only allows for a small reduction of the sugar content in products. Therefore, it has been suggested to combine different strategies in order to successfully reduce sugar content in foods and beverages. Additionally, the use of aroma to increase sweetness might dependent on culture. The effect of sweetener and nationality on the cross-modal effect of vanilla aroma on sweet taste intensity was therefore investigated. Three sets of sweeteners: sucrose, sucrose + tagatose, and tagatose + rebaudioside A (all iso-sweet with 2.5% sucrose) were investigated with and without vanilla aroma. Cross-modal effects were investigated with both a descriptive sensory analysis as well as consumer studies in China (n = 159) and Denmark (n = 161). Results indicated the greatest cross-modal effect of vanilla aroma on sweetness intensity of the sweeteners most perceptually similar to sucrose. In both countries, consumers rated samples with added vanilla aroma higher in sweet taste intensity than samples without added aroma. Danish consumers noted a greater increase than Chinese consumers did. Furthermore, individual differences in consumers’ sweetness ratings were observed, which could not be completely explained by the consumer characteristics recorded. Results from the present study suggest that the use of vanilla aroma in combination with non- or low-calorie sweeteners for sugar reduction can be used for at least some consumers and some sweeteners.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104036
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

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